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From the Woodland Heights Assn. Website www.woodland-heights.org:

(excerpt from the September 14, 2004 Woodland Heights Civic Association General Meeting Minutes)

The speaker for September General Meeting was Helen Huey and Chad Moss with Property Commerce. Property Commerce is the developer and will also manage the Sawyer Heights Village (the

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I really think this will be a good development. I, for one, am excited about it. The area now is a wasteland.

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It's about time a box store developer goes pedestrian friendly. Although target is pretty good with suggestions. Unlike a Wal-Mart..

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From HBJ:

Developer assembles 12 separate tracts for new retail center

Jennifer Dawson

Houston Business Journal

Property Commerce closed on a dozen separate land purchase transactions on Oct. 29 to piece together a 24-acre retail center site just outside of downtown Houston.

Sawyer Heights Village will occupy mostly former industrial land on the south side of Interstate 10, east of Studemont and just west of Taylor/Sawyer.

A Target store will anchor the lifestyle center, which has space for several other retailers such as banks, restaurants and apparel stores.

Chad Moss, a broker with Property Commerce, says Sawyer Heights Village is a significant deal, even for the prolific Houston-based retail developer, which handles all of the Target and Home Depot developments in the area.

"This will be one of the highest profile deals we've ever developed in our 28-year history," Moss says.

The company had a party this week at Pappas Steakhouse for the 50 or so people who worked on the complicated deal.

Construction is expected to begin on Sawyer Heights Village in early 2005 and begin opening in 2006.

Property Commerce was represented by Moss on most of the recent land transactions.

Jose Porth of International Realty Group assisted the developer in buying some residential properties that will be razed for the project. None of the 12 individual landowners used a broker on their deals, Moss says.

A large chunk of the property was acquired from the Verandah Cos., which two years ago bought the land to build an upscale multifamily complex. Verandah cleared the site where Bowen Tool Co. used to operate before scrapping residential development plans altogether.

Terms of the land transactions were not disclosed.

"The land's very expensive there," Moss says. "It's 'inside the Loop' prices."

Target bought its own land in connection with Property Commerce's acquisitions two weeks ago. While the national retailer will own the land, Property Commerce expects to ground lease to other tenants that will construct their own buildings.

"We've had tremendous interest from sit-down restaurants," Moss says. "We've had great interest from many national retailers. Banks are going nuts on this site."

The property is situated near quite a bit of new residential development, including high-density homes around downtown, Midtown and The Heights.

Moss says it was a feat to put together this much land for a close-in retail project. In fact, it could have been a larger project if the developer had been able to buy a few random pieces of land that the development will now have to snake around.

"You can't assemble 24 acres inside the Loop," Moss says. "It doesn't exist."

Sawyer Heights Village will be an urban shopping center, similar in style to Highland Village and Town & Country Villages, Moss says. The developer is turning Taylor/Sawyer into a heavily landscaped boulevard with brick roadways, and has designs to make the entire project pedestrian-friendly, Moss says.

The project also will be a little more driver-friendly after some work is done by the Texas Department of Transportation.

I-10 does not have a south side service road linking Studemont to Taylor. However, the road has been planned and is expected to begin construction by early 2008, Moss says.

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This is a great addition to the neighborhood and should support the continued growth of the Heights, the Washington corridor and downtown. The Washington corridor, in particular, could lose some of its urban wasteland feel through the addition of the retail in this development. I have yet to hear anything convincing about the design of the center, but at least they are saying the right things. I really like that Target has already bought the land, which indicates very serious interest on their end.

On the other hand, I really hate the idea of extending the service road. Why do we have to have service roads, anyway? This city is absolutely obsessed with them in a way that no other city I know of is, and I liked living in an area without it.

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From HBJ:

Jose Porth of International Realty Group assisted the developer in buying some residential properties that will be razed for the project.

This being a very old part of Houston, it seems likely that a least a few of these houses would contribute to the 6th Ward or some of the older parts of the Heights as infill. Perhaps they could be moved rather than demolished.

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From the Woodland Heights Assn. Website www.woodland-heights.org:

Construction is scheduled to commence approximately in March 2005.

Anyone heard anything new about this Target?

I'm going to be priced out of the neighborhood by the time the ribbon gets cut.

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This is great. I won't have to go to the Target at San Felipe and I-610 anymore.

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This being a very old part of Houston, it seems likely that a least a few of these houses would contribute to the 6th Ward or some of the older parts of the Heights as infill. Perhaps they could be moved rather than demolished.

I am not sure of the boundaries, but I don't think there are any houses over where they are putting this, just warehouses.

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Does anyone have a map of the boundaries for this project?

I'm familiar with the area, but I just wanted to know which buildings are going to be demolished.

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A section of the buildings are alread cleared. A few more need to go. I need to pass by this weekend and look.

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Here is the site plan, if anyone wanted it:

sp0012rj.jpg

sp0024rb.jpg

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Another crap project.

How in the hell did this project get so much surface parking approved right next to the bayou?

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I really hate these big "lifestyle centers" with stores scattered over acres of parking. It really discourages walking between stores. You see people get in their car and drive to the other end of the parking lot to go to another store or Applebees or whatnot.

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I really hate these big "lifestyle centers" with stores scattered over acres of parking.  It really discourages walking between stores.  You see people get in their car and drive to the other end of the parking lot to go to another store or Applebees or whatnot.

Although this was called a "lifestyle center" by the reporter, it looks more like a "power center" to me. The Lifestyle center that really looks interesting to me is the proposed Parks at Boulder Creek in Pearland. The "lifestyle" here calls for a pedestrian environment, townhomes on the property, two midrise office buildings, a waterway and retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Virgin, Banana Republic, etc. It's sort of a mini-Woodlands Town Center/Market Street, by my estimation. That's closer to the lifestyle center idea, at least as I understand it.

Also, the parking for Parks at Boulder Creek seems to be garages or back-of-the-property stuff -- not on the Pearland Parkway -- cool. I'm sorry I don't have any drawings or links. I've only seen drawings in trade magazines. One caveat -- It's a Jefco development -- they of the Portofino Center in Conroe. Let's hope they use the same sense of grandeur, but a heightened sense of style in the Pearland development.

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Actually, that is a lot less parking that I would envision for a development of that size.

It's probably the bare minimum. Also, the city will require the planting of trees throughout the project like the Kroger on Buffalo Speedway and US 59.

Some of those trees were existing, but many or new as required by the city for new developments with large parking areas.

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Well, I was under the impression from those who drink the Target-is-much-better-than-Walmart-for-urban-development Kool-Aid that this project would have a much better design. It's not much different than the Target development near 290/Barker Cypress.

With that said, they must be planning on several restaurants and big-time retailers with the lay-out of the parking.

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Good point GovernorAggie. Where is that pro-urban Target attitude that people talk about. Wal-Mart had build facilities just like the above. The good thing is that I would rather go to this Target than the one on San Felipe by the West Loop that I go to.

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Also, I looked at the aerial photo for the site. It seems they are keeping most of the site in tacked as for as the platting goes. Other than the one road they are going to have abandoned.

True the site plan is not in a generall pro-urban concept, but it seems no neighborhood jumped in to voice their opinions. Also, the placing of a typical commercial site on abandoned warehouses is better than nothing at all.

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Here's the Google Maps satellite photo of the site, and it corresponds to the site plans. Helpful for those of us who aren't so familiar with the specific warehouses:

Google Satellite Map

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This new Target will really add urban vibrancy to the neighborhood. They could do a mixed-use project- perhaps a loft above the "electronics department", a law office above the "planted pots", or a penthouse suite above the entry canopy. This would really encourage interaction and a livability quality not felt since the mid 1940's.

A Kohls or a Mervyns would have definetly stopped all momentum.

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They could do a mixed-use project- perhaps a loft above the "electronics department", a law office above the "planted pots", or a penthouse suite above the entry canopy.

Well, this is Houston - think more along the lines of a strip club above the lingerie department.

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I am one of the target lovers that looks at this plat and says "why?", but they haven't come close to breaking ground, a lot can change in the eventual design between now and then even if the big pieces are set. One thing is for sure though, there is a lot more land around this site that could potentially be flipped from light industrial to other uses.

I predict a lot of activity in that area over the next 10 years, and I think it could become the natural choice for a concentrated retail center ala Rice Village. Before you laugh me off take a look at demographic shift in the general area: Heights has always been there and has starved for this for a long time indeed, plus the activity in the 6th ward, West End, etc. and you start to see why Target is going in in the 1st place.

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$50 this one looks like the one on South Main.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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I am one of the target lovers that looks at this plat and says "why?", but they haven't come close to breaking ground, a lot can change in the eventual design between now and then even if the big pieces are set. One thing is for sure though, there is a lot more land around this site that could potentially be flipped from light industrial to other uses.

I predict a lot of activity in that area over the next 10 years, and I think it could become the natural choice for a concentrated retail center ala Rice Village. Before you laugh me off take a look at demographic shift in the general area: Heights has always been there and has starved for this for a long time indeed, plus the activity in the 6th ward, West End, etc. and you start to see why Target is going in in the 1st place.

I agree. This is a natural step towards the conversion of that light industrial to retail and residential. First the townhouses en masse, then some conversions/tear downs of old small commercial to newer strip centers and free standing retail and then the larger shopping center that require an established demographic before they build. This seems to be the natural progression. It's really more Rice Military than Heights to me, being south of I-10. So I think this is good.

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